Using Mobile Coupons to Drive Local Traffic and Sales

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

mobile-retailCoupons have been a mainstay of marketing and advertising for generations. And as was mentioned in a previous article, digital coupons are expanding that tradition into the internet age. One particular trend that local business owners need to take advantage of is mobile coupons. Coupons that can be sent and redeemed via mobile devices can greatly increase foot traffic and sales to local retail stores.

In a recent study from eMarketer, the researchers forecast that digital coupon users, which include internet users ages 18 and older who redeem a digital coupon or code via any device for online or offline shopping at least once per year, will account for 55 percent of all US internet users in 2014.

The researchers forecast that only 36.5 percent of marketers will offer mobile coupons in 2014. However, that figure will by over a third to reach 44.5 percent of marketers by the year 2016. Younger audiences, who are more accustomed to using mobile devices, along with the rising number of mobile channels offering easily accessible coupons, will help fuel the double-digit growth in marketer uptake, that eMarketer believes will persist through 2016.

These results are inline with other research on mobile coupons. According to Sullivan, Higdon & Sink, 14 percent of Americans have used a mobile coupon at a grocery store and 12 percent use them for restaurants. Interestingly, this is more of a tactic for smartphone marketing than it is for tablets. Nielsen found that nearly half of US smartphone owners have used mobile coupons on their devices but just 10 percent of tablet owners do. According to the eMarketer study, this changes when it comes to redeeming online coupons, in which case, tablet users are more likely to buy online using a mobile coupon than smartphone users.

“Tablets are commonly used for digital purchases at home, while many shoppers use their smartphones to redeem coupons while making purchases in brick-and-mortar stores,” the researchers stated in a press release.

Don’t forget that this can be combined with email marketing strategies as well. Most emails are now opened via mobile device, so making it possible to easily use email coupons on mobile benefits the customer. Earlier this year, Experian reported that in 2013, 21 percent of in-store coupons emailed encouraged customers to show the coupon in-store on their mobile device. This shows that a lot of brands have figured this trick out, but three out of four coupons aren’t taking advantage if this tactic.

This is a tactic that business owners need to jump on now. The amount of consumers using mobile coupons is expected to grow dynamically over the next five years. Juniper Research estimated that there will be 1.05 billion mobile coupon users worldwide by 2019, roughly one seventh of the world’s population (and babies can’t use coupons), up from 560M in 2014.

Sending mobile coupons that can be redeemed through the mobile devices is good for the business and the consumer. For the consumer, mobile coupons let them easily receive and access deals while they are shopping. There’s no need to go to a printer or look for a print ad with the coupon. This convenience to customers translates into sales for local businesses. People are more likely to visit stores where they know they can find a deal on their phone while they are shopping.

Local businesses should integrate mobile-redeemable coupons into each part of the internet marketing strategy. Local Awareness Ads on Facebook can used to put the coupons in ads on people nearby the business location, and including mobile coupons in email marketing content gives people a reason to visit the store they subscribe to, even if they receive the coupon while on the go.

For more mobile marketing advice, read this article on Google’s new mobile design tool that identifies site issues that affect usability or read this article on why mobile marketing is still the next big thing.

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